Competition Pro Super CD 32 Professional Control Pad
A replacement joypad for the CD^32 with extras like turbo/autofire for
each of the six control buttons.
Distributed in the USA by:
Name: Happ Controls, Inc.
Address: 106 Garlisch Drive
Telephone: (708) 593-617
FAX: (708) 593-6137
Distributed in the UK by:
Name: Powerplay, Ltd.
Address: Slackcote Lane
Lancashire OL3 5TW
Telephone: 0457 876705
FAX: 0457 871058
I paid DM 60 (about US$ 35) at a local store. Mail order prices seem
to get as low as DM 49.- (about US$ 30).
SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
The Super CD 32 pad is intended to be used on the CD^32.
MACHINE USED FOR TESTING
A plain CD^32 hooked up to a 1081 monitor.
The Super CD 32 pad should be plugged in as either first or second
controller on the CD^32. At first, I had some minor problems with this as
the plug of the pad did not fit in the socket. Scratching off bits of
plastic at the sides of the plug with a knife helped, though.
I have been trying hard to develop a liking for the CD^32 joypad for
six weeks - and so far, I haven't been successful. The problem isn't just
that it looks weird, but that the steering acts weird, too. So when I
heard that a local dealer had picked up the Super CD 32 pad, I knew I had
to get one.
After a bit of haggling about the price, I left his shop with a small
colorful box bearing pictures of the pad, some promotional infos and a
"Made in China" designation. At a first glance, the Super CD 32 pad looks
suspiciously like a souped-up Sega Megadrive (also known as "Genesis" in
North America) controller. It looks solid, and definitely not as "cheesy"
as the original pad. However, the similarities with the Megadrive pad end
with the general design of the pad and the steering cross, as there are
quite a lot of additional buttons and switches.
The "left" and "right" buttons can be found just where they are
supposed to be at the back of the pad, while the field of colored fire
buttons on the right side of the pad appears rotated by 45 degrees
counter-clockwise with respect to the original Commodore pad. This layout
gives better access to the "red" standard fire button, but also makes
reaching the "yellow" button a bit harder.
While the buttons on the commodore pad are done all in color, the
buttons on the Super CD 32 pad are just standard grey, with colored
function symbols embossed. These symbols correspond to the functions of the
CD^32 CD-player control screen.
The upper middle of the pad is dedicated to a bank of six switches,
where you can activate turbo or auto fire for each of the six buttons. The
turbo fire mode toggles the button continuously while you hold it down,
while auto fire just blazes away no matter whether you press the button or
not. The start/pause button has its own auto fire switch, which is
labelled "slow", because it can toggle the "pause" function of a game that
supports this feature, thus slowing it down considerably. There is no way
to set the rate of the auto/turbo fire function.
With 1.90 m in length, the cord of the Super CD 32 pad is a bit shorter
than that of the original Commodore pad. Still, it enables you to sit back
at a comfortable distance when playing.
The kidney-shaped pad fits well in your hand, and you can reach both
the steering cross and the button field quite comfortably, so that you
don't have to strain your hands. The steering itself is pretty sensitive,
and takes some time getting used to. I found it especially difficult to
produce straight "up" movements without adding a "left" or "right"
component. Besides that small gripe, I was fairly satisfied with the
performance of the pad.
The Super CD 32 pad comes with a small foldout leaflet that contains
general operating instructions summarized on two A6 pages per language,
with 5 languages in all. As most of the functions of the pad are quite
obvious, you'll probably throw it away soon.
Having selectable auto/turbofire isn't as vital nowadays as it used to
be. Still, it's great to have such an option for all six buttons - you
might never know when such a feature comes in handy to abuse a game.
DISLIKES AND SUGGESTIONS
Just as the Commodore pad, the Super CD 32 pad was obviously designed
with the young player in mind, as the whole layout is a bit cramped.
Somebody with big hands might have problems with the small and closely
spaced buttons of the button field, as well as the small steering cross.
The steering could be a bit less sensitive to minimal movements. Maybe
using micro switches instead of the cheaper foil switches would help.
COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS
The Super CD 32 pad measures up quite well against the original
Commodore CD^32 joypad, which doesn't quite come as a surprise. Its main
advantages are its appealing design, the improved steering cross, and the
auto/turbofire selectors for all buttons.
In direct comparison to console joypads, I'd say it's about as good as
a Megadrive pad, but not as good as the Super Nintendo ones. Of course this
is a rather subjective rating, so please don't roast me alive if you happen
to like the Megadrive pad better.
Apart from the oversized joypad plug, there was nothing wrong with the
The package states that there is a 12 month warranty for the original
purchaser on the joypad, and that you need a proof of purchase in case you
have to send the pad in. Of course, the warranty just covers defects in
material and workmanship, but not the normal wear and tear, which is
ironically called "industrial use and abuse" on the package.
The Competition Pro Super CD 32 joypad is not a perfect product, but
the overall performance is quite fair. Considering the fact that it is
cheaper and better than the Commodore pad, I would say that this is pad to
shop for when you're looking to buy an additional or a replacement pad.
Still, I would like to see more competition on the market, from other
established names like Gravis or ASCIIware.
My personal rating for the Super CD 32 pad is three stars out of five.
Copyright 1994 Thomas Bätzler. All rights reserved.
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